McNeese State's Dontae Cannon gets upended while going for a layup against Centenary Tuesday night. The Cowboys won 93-62. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
McNeese State men's basketball coach Dave Simmons. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:27 PM
McNeese State coach Dave Simmons has to hope Tuesday night’s 93-62 win over Centenary serves as an analogy for the season as a whole — a very slow start that escalates into something impressive by the end.
After heading into the game’s second media timeout trailing the Division III Gents 13-9, an offense that had been moribund for four games finally sparked to life.
“We’re a young team that hasn’t played our best,” Simmons said. “(Centenary coach Adam Walsh) did exactly what I would have done with us — he started in a zone until we finally hit some shots. Early we were a little tentative until we finally found a groove. One guy finds some confidence, and then the rest of the guys find that.”
Four players finished in double figures for the Cowboys (2-3), who shot 52.2 percent from the field.
McNeese entered the game ranked 314th in the nation in field-goal percentage (38.1) after a tough three-game road skid.
“It’s been rough on the road,” said sophomore forward Desharick Guidry. “It felt real good to be back home. Our own goals, our own balls, our own crowd. Coming into your home 1-3, you want to bring the energy. We really needed this ballgame to build our confidence.”
Guidry led the way with a career-high 22 points and 13 rebounds. Guidry and Adrian Fields combined for 14 points to help the Cowboys turn their 13-9 deficit into a 25-20 lead over a four-minute stretch.
“The biggest thing is we got some easy baskets off of rebounding,” Simmons said. “Then we hit a jumper, got a dunk. The crowd got into it. We hadn’t had that on the road. It hadn’t been very kind to us.”
Simmons said switching to a matchup zone defense midway through the first half improved McNeese’s opportunities on the other end of the floor.
“They beat us on some backdoor cuts, so we went to a matchup zone,” Simmons said. “And we finally rebounded. When we rebound, we can get up and run.”
Fields finished with 12 points. Jeremie Mitchell scored 17 and Dontae Cannon added 15.
McNeese outrebounded Centenary (3-1) by a 45-35 margin and dominated paint scoring 42-18.